Colorado Rockies: The home run that saved their season

DENVER, CO - JULY 25: A general view of the stadium as the Colorado Rockies take on the Houston Astros during interleague play at Coors Field on July 25, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Astros 3-2. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 25: A general view of the stadium as the Colorado Rockies take on the Houston Astros during interleague play at Coors Field on July 25, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Astros 3-2. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 2
Next
DJ LeMahieu of the Colorado Rockies
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 28: DJ LeMahieu #9 of the Colorado Rockies hits a two-run home run in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on June 28, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Giants brought in Sam Dyson to close out the game. With one out and Pat Valaika standing on first as a pinch-runner after a Chris Iannetta single, LeMahieu battled Dyson to a full count before launching the seventh pitch of the at-bat for a two-run, go-ahead home run that put the Rockies up for good 9-8 and capped a five-RBI day for DJ.

It would have been easy to give up after the month the Rockies had endured, but LeMahieu and the Rockies kept playing hard, believing there was still time to salvage the season.

LeMahieu’s reaction once he reached the dugout showed the team and the fans that he was not ready to give up on 2018 just yet. Known for his reserved, quiet demeanor, DJ broke that mold, clapping his hands together as he ran towards the dugout. Moments later, he could be seen jumping up and down with his teammates, bringing a long-lost energy back to a team that desperately needed it and causing fans across the Rocky Mountain region to wonder if maybe the team had one more run left in the tank.

A few days later, Arenado made some headline-grabbing comments (subscription required) that many have tried to tie to the Rockies’ recent success. Arenado is a leader on the team and his words certainly carry a lot of weight in the Colorado clubhouse. But the Rockies’ turn-around can actually be traced back to before Arenado spoke out, directly to DJ’s clutch home run. This isn’t intended to diminish the importance of what Arenado said, but rather to highlight the spark LeMahieu’s homer ignited.

Their 9-8 victory sent them on a 16-3 tear to return the team to relevance. Since their 1-0 walk-off loss in San Francisco, the Rockies have the best record in the NL at 26-13 and their pitchers have surrendered the fewest runs in the NL. Only the Boston Red Sox (32-8) and Oakland Athletics (29-10) have a better record over that span (and the Rockies swept Oakland in a three-game series in Denver in late July). The Rockies’ 26-13 record is 6.5 games better than the Dodgers’ record and seven games better than Arizona’s record over the same stretch. Since June 27, the Dodgers are a mere .500 and Arizona is actually a game below .500.

If the trends that we’ve seen for almost two months now continue, it won’t be long until the Rockies move into first place in the West. Interestingly, if you take out June 1-27, right now the Rockies would lead the NL West by 8.5 games over Arizona and 10.5 over L.A.

Next. An exclusive chat with Nolan about his words and his passion for winning. dark

The NL West will probably be much closer than that by the end of the season, but if the Rockies do capture their first division title, it might be easy to forget during the ensuing celebration that they were almost out of the race entirely before LeMahieu hit the home run that turned the season around.

facebooktwitterreddit